Monday, July 16, 2018

Craft Beer Connections - Brewery Influence Web

On Friday I posted a visualization of the connections between the ownership of American breweries, both craft and macro. I was inspired by this graphic of American food companies and leaned heavily on existing aggregations. The response was enthusiastic. Between Twitter, Facebook, and Reddit it was viewed ~150,000 times, plus being featured in a Paste Magazine article.


However, it's the Internet so of course there were complaints:

- You're missing (insert recently sold or Canadian brewery)!

- You're lumping in total ownership with partial!

- List the rest of the 124 AB InBev owned breweries!

- That brewery is closed now!

- That logo is for the 7 Bridges in Da Nang, not Jacksonville!

I spent far too many hours over the weekend correcting, tweaking, and expanding the graphic to address many of those issues. Thanks to those who created other sources I could use as source material (/u/Hraes' spreadsheet, Craft Beer Joe, Philip H Howard, and of course Wikipedia).

Any visualization is a balancing act of information and intelligibility. My first version was likely too simple to provide any deep understanding of the complex web of brewery ownership... while the updated version may be so complex that it is overwhelming (and that's still without 108 AB Inbev brands).


Feel free to let me know if I missed anything. I intentionally left-off private equity firms that own a piece of a single craft brewery (e.g., BrueryStone). I'm sure that there are other conglomerations outside the US that didn't come to mind. It's already starting to look like one of those crazy conspiracy diagrams, so I'm not sure how much more I could add.

With this many complex relationships it is difficult to be completely accurate while maintaining legibility... especially when it comes to unique situations and convoluted relationships. So here it is without distinguishing different levels of ownership.



If you're reading this after July, 2018 don't expect the graphic above to be up-to-date. Obviously no rights other than fair-use claimed on the brewery logos.

I didn't start working on this with the goal of changing what beers people drink. I don't refuse to buy beer from "sellout" breweries... but all-else equal, I'd rather my dollars didn't go to a company that uses its size to muscle small craft breweries off the store shelf or tap list (for example). It's the same reason I stopped shopping at Northern Brewer and Midwest. In that regard there is a big difference between breweries owned by AB InBev, and to a lesser extend Molson-Coors, compared to those owned by CANarchy and Duvel-Moortgat. Even with those though, I'd rather support a small brewery where the money goes back into the brewery, rather than a private equity firm or international conglomerate.

Independent craft beer isn't always delicious. Wide-scale distribution of delicate beers takes both skilled brewers and a level of packaging and distribution channels that many small breweries don't have funding for. That said, I'm not going to buy an insipid or uninspired beer simply because it has a low-level of DO (dissolved oxygen) and an absence of diacetyl and acetaldehyde. There are enough great beers available that I don't need to sacrifice on quality or consistency!

Here is an interesting piece on the Old Dominion-Fordham relationship with AB InBev. Jim Lutz, CEO: "In the years I’ve been here I’ve only met with the AB InBev people twice..." I was fond of Old Dominion before they were acquired in 2007. The first noticeable change was that the tasting room went from smoke-free to smoking permitted. Pretty quickly they closed the brewery in Ashburn, VA and moved production to Fordham's facility in Delaware. The old head brewer didn't follow (he, along with the equipment, became Lost Rhino). I may be out of the loop, but I remember Old Dominion producing a few interesting beers (like their Millennium barleywine aged in barrels... and even a version with Brett). Now all I see from them are pin-up girl logos and uninspired beers. Whether that is the result of AB InBev or the brewery itself doesn't change many of the reasons I don't buy their beers.

While the Brewers Association had to draw a line somewhere for what is craft, I don't find anything special about the 25% non-craft brewery ownership definition. What really matters is the relationship between the brewery and ownership. How much control of the beers is put into the hands of marketing or accounting? What sorts of incentives/investments are there for brewing innovation versus sales growth. Are resources primarily used to increase consistency/quality, or reduce costs? In the past BA has been all too happy to raise the barrels-per-year cap for Boston Beer, even though producing ~4,000,000 bbls/year as a publicly-traded company owned by a billionaire puts their trade-group needs much closer to a macro brewer than it does mine as a ~1,000 bbl/year start-up brewery.

We're at an interesting time in the growth of craft beer, hopefully the visualization helps illustrate that! 

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Buckwheat Saison with Cashmere Hops

Shaking the wort to introduce oxygen.The Bootleg Biology isolated version of my house Brett-saison culture is available for the next few days, so I decided to hustle to write this post featuring my OG blend... especially because after I just quit my day job of the last 12 years with the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Gotta get that yeast money until Sapwood Cellars is up and running!

I'm a bad microbe owner. I don't do well when I have to keep a culture going with regular feedings. Whether it was kombucha, ginger beer plant, or sourdough eventually whatever the yeast or bacteria it ends up in the fridge, ignored until I toss it. My house saison culture was getting close, having sat in a growler for nearly seven months since the Juniper-El Dorado Saison. Luckily, years of neglect and mistreatment have selected for only the hardiest bugs...

Wort from the buckwheat saison... a bit gray.This batch was a bit of a cupboard raid. I had two bags of Arrowhead Mills buckwheat flour that I impulse-bought on sale. A few years ago, I brewed a sour amber ale with buckwheat (milled and pre-boiled) with good results. Buckwheat contains caprylic acid, which there is some chance Brett converts to pineapple-scented ethyl caprylate. It also seems to have the same beer-darkening effect as oats when I left this batch exposed to the air (despite much lower oxidation-catylizing manganese - 1.3 mg/100g vs. 4.3 mg for oats). On the mouthfeel-side, the two contain a similar amount of beta glucans according to this study.

I didn't love the "whole wheat dishwater" gray color of the wort, but it looks great now that it is finished!

I also had a pound of Cashmere hops in the freezer untouched from my last bulk order. They are a relatively recent hybrid of Cascade and Northern Brewer. They seemed like a potential candidate for a NEIPA hop-blend, with positive descriptors of tropical, citrus (including lemongrass), peach, and coconut. I've enjoyed several hop-forward beers with this blend (e.g. New Zealan' Saison). So I added a large dose at flame-out as the sole hop addition.

Despite pitching the yeast directly from the fridge (to avoid gushing), the they woke up in a hurry. By the next day the head was thick enough that it looked more like bread dough than beer. Even if you don't need the culture immediately, clearly it can handle a few months in your fridge!

I decided to leave half the batch as is (currently naturally conditioning in the keg) while the Cashmere dry-hopped half is on tap force-carbonated.

Indian-Subcontinent Saison

Smell – Nice blend of citrusy top-notes plus earthy base from the buckwheat and saison yeast. I don’t get coconut specifically from the hops, but there is richness to the aroma. At less than a month old the Brett isn’t bold, but it doesn't smell completely clean.

Appearance – GLOWING. The ultra-pale base really lets the light into the hazy body. Anti-gravity head retention.

Taste – Grapefruit, melon, faint spices, and a hint of pancake batter. Slight bitterness from the whirlpool addition, no real acidity. The yeast pepperiness isn't as strong as a classic saison, which is one of the things that makes this culture work well with fruitier hops. Not as dry as saisons (including this blend) usually are, not sure if that is poor conversion of the flour or unhealthy yeast.

Mouthfeel - Saisons around 5% ABV are often thin, but thanks to the high FG and the beta glucans from the buckwheat this one has some of the softness of a NEIPA. The carbonation is still a little low, which contributes to that impression as well. That will likely change with more time on gas.

Drinkability & Notes – Saturated with a diverse array of flavors and aromas. Despite the haphazard construction it all actually works. The yeast is subtle enough not to get in the way, and interesting enough to connect the hops and grain. The bigger body makes me forget it is a session beer... especially next to the 2.2% and 1.9% ABV beers on tap now. I'll have to try Cashmere in a cleaner base beer, but a great first impression!

Changes for Next Time – I’ll be interested to taste the non-dry hopped half with more time warm to develop fermentation character. Hopefully the Brett doesn't generate too much carbonation while it is sitting warm. I might go back to whole buckwheat next time to see if that removes some of the "raw" grain notes.

The finished Buckwheat Saison with Cashmere hops.

Recipe

Batch Size: 11.00 gal
SRM: 2.8
IBU: 31.2
OG: 1.047
FG: 1.010
ABV: 5.0%
Final pH: 4.42
Brewhouse Efficiency: 70%
Boil Time: 60 mins

Fermentables
-----------------
87.8% - 18 lbs Briess Pilsen Malt
12.2 % - 2.5  lbs Arrowhead Mills Buckwheat Flour

Mash
-------
Mash In - 45 min @ 150F

Hops
-------
Whole Batch
8.00 oz Cashmere (Pellets 8.50 % AA) - 30 min Steep/Whirlpool Hop

Half Batch
3.00 oz Cashmere (Pellets 8.50 % AA) - Dry Hop @ Day 3

Water
-------
10.00 g Calcium Chloride @ Mash
10.00 g Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate) @ Mash

Calcium
Chloride
Sulfate
Sodium
Magnesium
Carbonate
120
100
140
15
10
90

Other
-------
3.00 tsp Phosphoric Acid 10% @ Mash
0.50 tsp Yeast Nutrient  @ 10 mins
1 Whirlfloc Tablet @ 5 min

Yeast
-------
Mad Fermentationist Saison Blend

Notes
-------
Brewed 6/16/18

All DC tap water, carbon filtered. Wort looked a little gray and gloppy thanks to the buckwheat initially. Cleaned up pretty nicely with the boil.

Chilled to 75F, shook to aerate, pitched decanted house saison blend straight from the fridge (harvested seven months earlier... from the juniper El Dorado saison).

Left at 75F ambient to ferment.

6/19/18 Dry hopped half.

6/30/18 Kegged at 1.010. Force carbed for the dry hopped half, 2.5 oz of table sugar for the non-dry hopped half.

Nice looking head!

I get a commission if you buy something after clicking the links to MoreBeer/Amazon/Adventures in Homebrewing/Great Fermentations!

Monday, June 25, 2018

Carbonating Water: Making Seltzer at Home

Pouring a glass of carbonated water from the tap!The only dedicated tap on our kegerator is the one for carbonated water. All beverages are marked up when you buy them by the serving rather than in bulk, but carbon dioxide dissolved in water is one of the most egregious. Making 5 gallons at home costs less than a dollar. When it comes to bottles, smaller is better because after opening the bubbles begin to escape. Having it on tap ensures the water is always ideally carbonated, and wonderfully cold (especially compared to our 75F/24C summertime tap water).

Seltzer, sparkling water, fizzy water, and bubbly water are synonyms, referring to water with carbon dioxide bubbles. In the US, "mineral" water is required to have 250 parts per million total dissolved solids (TDS), usually from a natural spring. Club soda or soda water is similar, but usually has the minerals added to it. Adding quinine (from cinchona tree bark) would turn it into tonic water. I don't think there is any need to get technical when making your own.

Luckily the process to carbonated water at home couldn't be simpler, if you already have a kegerator. Fill a keg with good tasting water (e.g., carbon-filtered tap water, reverse osmosis) and connect to a CO2 tank. Set your regulator for between 20-30 PSI, depending on how strong you want the bubbles to be. Once the keg is connected vent the head-space and then let the water chill and the CO2 infuse. To speed things up, once the water is chilled, you can shake the keg to speed up the absorption of the gas. Cold water can hold onto CO2 much easier, so you're wasting your time to shake room temperature water.

We add a small dose of chalk (calcium carbonate) to move our tap water closer to the profile of Perrier. Chalk doesn't readily dissolve at water's roughly neutral pH, but it is happy to once there is carbonic acid in solution. This is essentially the same thing that happens with acid rain meets limestone, the carbonic acid dissolved in the rain eats away at the calcium carbonate in the rock.

My Treated Water

Calcium
Chloride
Sulfate
Sodium
Magnesium
Carbonate
150
30
50
15
10
250

Perrier
Calcium
Chloride
Sulfate
Sodium
Magnesium
Carbonate
160
19
30
9.6
4.3
366

The calculator on this site includes many more profiles if you have a favorite mineral water.

If you are a fan of flavored seltzers like Polar or La Croix, you could add a small dose of a natural flavoring of your choice. It is best to dose a glass to taste and then scale up, a little goes a long way when it comes to these super-concentrated "natural" flavorings like those from Amoretti. You can also use actual natural ingredients like citrus peel. In that case I'd remove those after hanging them in the keg for a day or two. If you stick with plain water there is no need to clean or sanitize between fills, but with strong flavors you may need to clean if you are switching flavors.

This post is also available in video form on my YouTube channel.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Lactic Acid Yeast: Hanseniaspora and Wickerhamomyces

Looking at this analysis of which microbes are active in a spontaneous lambic fermentation, it’s hard to see why Brettanomyces gets so much attention. There are dozens of different species of yeast and bacteria at work over the course of several years. From a sensory standpoint it is clear they have an out-sized influence over the finished beer, but they are one of many yeast that play a role in the fermentation. Just as 100% Brett beers have gained interest, recently so have 100% fermentations by other non-Saccharomyces yeast strains.

In particular there has been interest in yeast strains that produce lactic acid. This is a big deal as in almost all sour beers up until now it is bacteria (i.e., Lactobacillus or Pediococcus) that were responsible for acidification. There are a litany of potential advantages to a lactic-acid producing yeast: simplicity of maintaining a pure culture, reducing concerns about cross-contamination, and hop-tolerance.

Samples of two lactic acid yeast strains from Wild Pitch!Luckily for me, I contacted Dr. Matt Bochman of Wild Pitch Yeast and he sent samples of two strains to trial, YH72 (Hanseniaspora vineae) and YH82 (Wickerhamomyces anomalus). I wanted to try the two strains both in a relatively clean base beer, and a beer with aroma hops to take advantage of their hop-tolerance. To accomplish this I ran off two gallons of the wort post-boil through my plate-chiller.

I then sent additional cooled wort back into the kettle, lowering the wort to 175F for the whirlpool addition of Mosaic and Amarillo. I haven’t found that a cooler whirlpool retains more hop aroma than one at flame-out, but it does reduce isomerization. While the yeast were billed as not minding iso-alpha acids, from a flavor-standpoint intense sour and bitter don’t get along.

Hanseniaspora's anamorph (asexual) form is Kloeckera; in the past Vinnie Cilurzo credited K. apiculata with providing grapefruit notes to Russian River Beatification. Eureka Brewing has a comprehensive write-up about the species. Given that it can't ferment maltose, it wouldn't be effective for solo-fermentation. Luckily Hanseniaspora vineae seems to be able to ferment wort well enough (reaching 71% apparent attenuation in my tests). There is also some interesting research on H. vineae's role in wine where it produced a "more fruity and flowery wine... strong presence of phenyl ethyl acetate." This ester is described as having an aroma like rose, raspberry, floral, and honey.

Wickerhamomyces is interesting because it is positive for beta-glucosidase (source), killer yeast toxins (potentially to control malaria). Here is a post about glycosides I did from a couple years ago. Wickerhamomyces is also available with several other oxidative yeasts in East Coast Yeast ECY31 Senne Valley Blend.

While the hoppy portions eventually finished out at the same FGs as their low-hopped counterparts, it took longer (especially for Hanseniaspora). They certainly had me worried when they were only at 25% attenuation after a week despite a seemingly quick start. This may have been a result of a factor other than hops (I didn’t precisely measure out the yeast when pitching). In a production environment, pitching an aggressive brewer's yeast in tandem or staggered may be beneficial (although potentially tricky given the killer factor Wickerhamomyces can produce).

As far as cross-contamination concerns I don’t have any solid answers, but I hedged and ran them through my sour gear and tap. On the Milk the Funk Podcast about Lactic Acid Yeast my friend Matt Humbard compared the risk to using a Belgian strain noting that standard cleaning/sanitizing will kill them. That’s true of Brettanomyces as well though, but we deal with sanitation, not sterilization in brewing. These two species are found in lambic months into fermentation (The Microbial Diversity of Traditional Spontaneously Fermented Lambic Beer). That suggests that they can grow from a few cells initially in post-Saccharomyces-fermentation conditions, which worries me. What makes a dangerous microbe isn’t necessarily that it is hard to kill (although some are), but rather that it can reproduce and work in difficult conditions. That said, there are attenuative Saccharomyces strain that can cause serious issues.

The result were good, but more similar to Lactobacillus with a mild Belgian strain than anything approaching a classic mixed-fermentation. Compared to kettle souring, these lactic acid producing yeast allow for a more streamlined process. No need to heat the wort to pasteurize after reaching the target pH. Although you also don’t have control to “lock-in” acidity as you would in that case. Like a kettle sour, they really don't create exciting flavors, making them best suited for sour beers with big character from fruit, hops, or malt.

I recorded videos of the brewing process and my tasting notes. Enjoy below or on my YouTube channel! Apologies for being bad at taking photos and video at the same time.



Hoppy Hanseniaspora

Smell – Fruity, tropical, and lemon-lime. Really expressive hoppiness, without much green. The short dry hop contact time seems to have worked well. Not a huge aroma, but pleasant and fresh considering I brewed it two months ago.

Appearance – Has continued to clear with time, despite the wheat and oats. Beautiful golden color. Good head retention for the white moussey head.

Taste – A nicely cohesive flavor. Lactic acid is snappy, works well with the hops. Mild peppery-spice in the finish.

Mouthfeel – Medium body without any hop astringency. Firm carbonation.

Drinkability & Notes – Reminds me of a lemonade, acid and citrus. Easy to drink on a warm evening.

Changes for Next Time – Not much to change on this one.

Hoppy Hanseniaspora beer in front/right, base next to the bottle.

Base Hanseniaspora

Smell – Much more expressive yeast than in the hoppy version. A little tropical, some cider, plus a touch of grain. It makes it easier for me to taste the contribution in the hoppy beer, glad the fruitiness adds to the hops in that case

Appearance – Clearer, and with more visible carbonation. Good head retention, thanks to all of the protein from the wheat and oats.

Taste – The finish comes across stale, likely from the cidery notes. Despite the lower pH it doesn’t taste quite as acidic.

Mouthfeel – Medium-thin body, medium-high carbonation.

Drinkability & Notes – The yeast is interesting, but more as a novelty in this case rather than something that is able to carry a bland base beer.

Changes for Next Time – I’d want to try altering fermentation temperature, pitching rate etc. before writing the strain off.

Hoppy Wickerhamomyces

Smell – Less citrus, not as zesty. More fruit punch, maybe watermelon? Some toasty notes.

Appearance – The haziest of the bunch. Otherwise similar.

Taste – The lemon-lime hop character comes out more in the flavor than in the nose. Less perceived acidity compared to the Hanseniaspora in the same wort. Without tasting the version without the hops I’d think it had a toasty malt flavor, but with the clarity of the other version is seems like THP.

Mouthfeel – Similar, medium body.

Drinkability & Notes – It’s a good beer, but not quite as quenching and delicious.

Changes for Next Time – This is the real drawback of these strains, there isn’t an easy way to lower the pH of this beer without resorting to dosing or blending… unless someone figures out that a certain combination of time, pitching rate, aeration, nutrients etc. changes the expected final pH.

Base Wickerhamomyces

Smell – Big cider (bruised apple), a little acetic. Not a great nose.

Appearance – I was drinking this a little warmer in the video and it was clear. Hazy after a day in the fridge, which suggests chill haze is at work. Especially good lacing on this one.

Taste – Like the nose, cidery. Like the other low-hopped beer the flavor is almost stale. It just reminds me of an old saison in the finish, almost papery-oxidation. That isn’t what I’d expect from a relatively fresh and well-treated beer. Good lactic acid, but the muddy finish prevents it from tasting as bright as I want.

Mouthfeel – Thin and a little astringent.

Drinkability & Notes – Not a beer I enjoy drinking especially. The flavors are muddled and not especially appealing.

Changes for Next Time – It seems, like the other strain, this one needs a boost of flavor and aroma from another source. While it produced a good amount of acid, the other flavors produced aren’t appealing.

Hoppy Wickerhamomyces beer in front/right, base next to the bottle.

Hopade Recipe

Batch Size: 14.50 gal
SRM: 4.6
IBU: 34.7
OG: 1.052
FG: 1.010/1.015
ABV: 5.5%/4.9%
Final pH: See Notes
Brewhouse Efficiency: 82%
Boil Time: 65 mins

Fermentables
----------------
45.6% - 11.75 lbs Rahr 2-Row Brewer's Malt
38.8% - 10 lbs Great Western White Wheat
15.5% - 4 lbs Simpsons Golden Naked Oats

Mash
-------
Mash In - 45 min @ 152F

Hops
-------
1.00 oz Mosaic (Pellets, 12.25% AA) @ 10 min
4.00 oz Amarillo (Pellet, 9.20% AA) @ Whirlpool (175F) 30 min
4.00 oz Mosaic (Pellets, 12.25% AA) @ Whirlpool (175F) 30 min
2.00 oz Amarillo (Pellet, 9.20% AA) @ Dry Hop Day 15
2.00 oz Mosaic (Pellets, 12.25% AA) @ Dry Hop Day 15

Water
-------
11.00 g Calcium Chloride @ mash
5.00 tsp 10% Phosphoric Acid  @ mash

Calcium
Chloride
Sulfate
Sodium
Magnesium
Carbonate
90
100
50
15
10
90

Other
-------
1.00 Whirlfloc Tablet @ 5 min

Yeast
-------
Wild Pitch Yeast YH72 Hanseniaspora vineae
Wild Pitch Yeast YH82 Wickerhamomyces anomalus

Notes
-------
Brewed 3/4/18

Mash pH 5.39 at mash temp after 4 tsp of phosphoric acid. A little higher.

4 gallon cold sparge with an additional tsp of phosphoric.

Added 1 gallon of water at the end of the boil.

Ran off 2 gallons of wort before any flame-out hops (~6 IBUs from the Mosaic). Chilled to 175F and added the whirlpool addition. Ran the rest off, chilling to 70F inline, shook to aerate.

Final wort pH was 5.39. No extra acid added to drop the pH.

Wild Pitch Yeast YH72 (Hanseniaspora vineae) and YH82 (Wickerhamomyces anomalus)

3/9/18
68F beer temperature.
Hoppy YH72 1.038 (27% AA), 3.79
Hoppy YH82 1.039 (25% AA), 3.73
Base YH72 1.030, 3.69
Base YH82 1.028, 3.51

3/17/18
Hoppy YH72 1.028 (40% AA), tart
Hoppy YH82 1.012 (75% AA), not very tart
Bases taste dry and tart.

3/21/18 Dry hopped each with 1 oz each of Mosaic and Amarillo.

3/23/18 - Kegged, moved to fridge to force carbonate.
Hoppy YH72 1.015 (71% AA), 3.38
Hoppy YH82 1.010 (81% AA), 3.52

4/7/18 bottled with 50 g of table sugar in 120 g of water (6 ml per bottle).

YH72 pH 3.33/FG 1.015
YH82 pH 3.37/FG 1.011

I get a commission if you buy something after clicking the links to MoreBeer/Amazon/Adventures in Homebrewing/Great Fermentations!

Monday, April 16, 2018

Denali, Hazy Daze... NEIPA!

Near the end of the boil.I’ve given up writing recipes with more than one new-to-me hop variety. When the beer is ready, I don't know which one to credit (or blame). Only a handful of varieties are able to carry an IPA alone, so I often avoid SMaSH recipes too. I’d heard good things about Denali (aka Nuggetzilla, 06277), specifically that it contributes big-punchy pineapple. That didn’t seem like what I wanted as the only aroma in an IPA though, rather it struck me as a nice combination with a couple of my favorites: Simcoe and Citra! If the beer isn't good, I'll know who to blame. I have a pound of Cashmere in the freezer waiting for similar treatment in another batch of NEIPA.

Action shot of the final hop addition.For hop-timing, I changed things up slightly. Usually right at flame-out I add a big dose that I whirlpool 30 minute to impart the mouth-filling flavor that supports the aroma from dry hopping. In this case though, Scott talked me into adding some of the hops right as I started chilling. Quick chilling was a big emphasis for hoppy beers when I started brewing. In 2012 I transitioned to the hop-stand/whirlpool which immediately improved the character of my hoppy beers. Since then I have occasionally dabbled in splitting additions, but have mostly settled on the single large dose without pre-chilling. Scott mentioned that while researching his book-in-progress (The New IPA) he's read studies that suggest that the concentration of certain aromatics peak almost instantly. The question is, are during-chilling additions the most effective way to impart aroma, or are dry hops accomplishing that goal more effectively?

I also wanted to trial Hazy Daze (which The Yeast Bay just “promoted” to full production). This is a three-strain blend intended for hazy IPAs which they say contributes "peach, apricot, nectarine and grapefruit citrus esters." I thought it might be related to the three dried-yeast blend I used, but from the taste there aren’t noticeable phenols or nearly the banana or bubblegum it produced. For the rest of the wort I pitched London III, as a control.

Next NEIPA in the pipeline will be a fresh batch of Cheater Hops: Citra Galaxy to pour at the Maryland Craft Beer Festival on 5/12 in Frederick!

Two fermentors, two yeasts.

London III 

Smell – When it was first tapped it was pineapple juice, and not much else. Not artificial or objectionable, but assertive. It was the first thing I smelled, and the first thing my sister-in-law said when she tried an uncarbonated sample. While that character is still present it has mellowed, melding with the Citra into an interesting mix of orange, melon, and pineapple.

Hazy IPA with WY1318.
Appearance – Hazy glowing body. I’m sure a few readers will complain that it isn’t milky enough… I’m just too good of a brewer! Or we can blame the oat flour… I don’t want murky, muddy, or yeasty. Head and lacing are nice, despite the lack of Chit malt and hop extract.

Taste – The pineapple is the signature character, but it finishes all Citra-melon. A touch of hoppy-resin helps and present bitterness to balance the fruit. It is juicy, but not a juice-bomb. Malt is subdued, just a slight fullness in the middle. Not distinctly oaty. Solid bitterness, balanced by a fair sweetness.

Mouthfeel – Pillowy, rounded, all the good stuff. Moderate carbonation.

Drinkability & Notes – The London III lets the hops speak. Not nose-in-the-hop-bag, but they retain their essence. The Denali has some of the same notes I associate with Sacch Trois (pineapple and a little sweaty), I think together they’d be too much.

Changes for Next Time – I might back Denali down to 1/3 of the hop blend with this yeast, but it is really fun as is. Denali could go nicely with the banana of a hefeweizen strain. Not something I would have thought about a hop that is mostly Columbus and Nugget parentage.

Hazy Daze

Smell – This half is somewhat less varietal, more citrus (tangerine) and less pineapple. It isn’t as obviously “hoppy” with more yeast-hop melding. I don't get anything extra special from the addition of hops during the chill, but then it is hard to know what to look for when using a new hop. Might be a little more aromatic that my last batch or two.

Even hazier IPA with Hazy Daze.Appearance – Perfect creamy head, great retention and lacing. Yellow, plenty hazy for my preferences, no murk or particulate.

Taste – Tastes drier, brighter, and more bitter than the other half. Still a relatively restrained bitterness compared to some NEIPAs. The hop flavor (citrus, pineapple, melon) is saturated throughout. Really full of flavor, and enough variety to keep me going back. Only mild sweetness, not especially rich.

Mouthfeel – Smooth, with just a hint of hop-astringency. Not quite as full as the best creamiest versions, but a bit more drinkable with the sudden warm weather.

Drinkability & Notes – Bright, hoppy, and not exactly like the typical blend of hops. The yeast helps to keep it drinkable.

Changes for Next Time – With the “alteration” to the hop character this blend seems like a great candidate for getting a citrusy hazy IPA without breaking the bank on fancy hops. I’d like to try this one in the Cheaper Hops paradigm.

Denali Haze

Batch Size: 11.50 gal
SRM: 4.2
IBU: 52
OG: 1.062
FG: 1.014/1.013
ABV: 6.3%/6.4%
Final pH: 4.61/4.70
Brewhouse Efficiency: 68%
Boil Time: 75 mins

Fermentables
----------------
90.4% - 26 lbs Rahr 2-Row Brewer's Malt
7.0 % - 2 lbs Arrowhead Mills Oat Flour
2.6 % -.75 lbs Briess Caramel 10

Mash
-------
Mash In - 45 min @ 154F

Hops
-------
1.00 oz Denali (Pellets, 14.00% AA) @ 15 min
1.00 oz Simcoe (Pellets, 13.20% AA) @ 15 min
3.00 oz Denali (Pellets, 14.00% AA) @ Flame-out (30 min whirlpool)
3.00 oz Simcoe (Pellets, 13.20% AA) @ Flame-out (30 min whirlpool)
2.00 oz Denali (Pellets, 14.00% AA) @ 180F (rapid chill)
2.00 oz Simcoe (Pellets, 13.20% AA) @ 180F (rapid chill)
6.00 oz Citra (Pellets, 12.40% AA) @ Dry Hop Day 3
6.00 oz Denali (Pellets, 14.00% AA) @ Dry Hop Day 3
4.00 oz Citra (Pellets, 12.40% AA) @ Keg Hop
4.00 oz Denali (Pellets, 14.00% AA) @ Keg Hop

Water
-------
19 g Calcium Chloride
15 g Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate)
5 tsp Phosphoric Acid 10%

Calcium
Chloride
Sulfate
Sodium
Magnesium
Carbonate
145
145
145
10
5
50

Other
-------
1 Whirlfloc Tablet @ 5 mins

Yeast
-------
Wyeast 1318 - London Ale III
The Yeast Bay Hazy Daze

Notes
-------
Brewed 3/18/18

Mashed with 9 gallons filtered DC tap and 6 gallons of distilled. pH 5.45 with 3 tsp phosphoric, so added 2 tsp more.

Lost a gallon of wort not closing the kettle valve before the transfer started... spraged with an extra gallon to make up for it and extended the boil.

Added first dose of whirlpool hops at flame-out. After 30 minutes naturally cooled to 180F. Dumped the first dose of hops, started the chiller and added the next dose to the spider for better contact.

Chilled to 67F, shook to aerate, pitched yeast. Both were packaged mid-January. No starter.

Left at 66F to ferment. Beer temperature 65F up to 67F by day 3.

3/21/18 Dry hopped both with 3 oz each of Citra and Denali. Still good krausens.

3/30/18 Kegged each with 1.5 oz of table sugar boiled in water and 1 g of CBC-1 without rehydration. Left at room temperature to carbonate. Under-primed to avoid the over-carbonation issues with Cheater Hops v1.

1318 FG = 1.014 (not enough beer left over to measure Hazy Daze).

4/3/18 Moved both to 38F. No apparent over-carbonation (thanks to no Mosaic?), if anything lower than expected.

4/13/18 Measured FG after warming decarbonating samples.

I get a commission if you buy something after clicking the links to MoreBeer/Amazon/Adventures in Homebrewing/Great Fermentations!

Monday, April 2, 2018

Belgian Dubbel Pomegranate Recipe

In 2012 a neighbor and I brewed a Belgian Quad for Easter, spiced with cardamom and boosted with pomegranate molasses instead of dark candi syrup. I only retained a six-pack of bottles for myself before kegging the rest for his congregation's Easter vigil, but I was pleased with the results. Since then I'd also used pomegranate molasses in Dark Saison VIII.

Pouring pomegranate molasses into the wort.Audrey enjoyed the quad enough that she decided to brew a lower-gravity dubbel version to put on tap. We dropped the table sugar, and swapped out the CaraMunich for an English medium crystal (based on availability). We pitched half of the wort with WLP530 (Westmalle), which I'd used for the original batch. For the rest, we pitched Imperial Monastic (Chimay).

Rather than put both beers on tap next to each other (the kegerator was already packed) we tasted both before kegging. The WLP530 was more balanced, with a nice mix of spice and fruit. The Monastic had too much banana (isoamyl acetate) for our tastes despite fermenting in the low-70s. We decided to rack that one to secondary and pitch The Yeast Bay's House Sour Blend. We'll probably give it a dose of pomegranate juice before bottling.

This also seemed like a suitable warm-up for our first trip to Belgium in a couple months for our fifth anniversary! With the Sapwood Cellar opening looming this summer, it seemed like it might be my last chance to travel for now.

Pom-Dom

Smell – Balanced Belgian peppery yeast spice and dark fruitiness. Still has a fresh grainiess as well, something that you almost never get from imported dubbels. Neither the pomegranate molasses nor cardamom immediately jump out. It has a slight morning pastry character, which may be the influence of the spice.

Finished Pomegranate-Cardamom Dubbel!Appearance – Hazy leathery-maroon body with an off-white head. Retention and lacing are both underwhelming. Not a particularly appealing beer to look at it.

Taste – The pomegranate shows itself more in the palate, it’s light acidity lending a crisper finish than a usual dubbel. Lingering subtle red jamminess from the fruit. Again the spice character is primarily the peppery phenols from the yeast, perhaps melding with the cardamom to make it seem more sweet than savory. Caramel notes, but lacks the typical raisin that would be provided by Special B in many recipes. Minimal bitterness. No strong character from the Carafa II, despite not being dehusked.

Mouthfeel – Slightly full for a moderate-strength dubbel. Mildly prickly carbonation, bottle conditioning would be nice to serve it with more sparkle.

Drinkability & Notes – A really nice twist on a Belgian style that doesn’t walk all over the base beer. As Stan Hieronymus notes in Brew Like a Monk, "if the drinker can name the spices, it's a sign they are overdone."

Changes for Next Time – Not sure what is up with the appearance. On one hand it would be nice to add wheat to boost the head retention, on the other I wouldn’t want to add more haze. Hopefully with continued conditioning it clears up.

Recipe

Batch Size: 11.50 gal
SRM: 15.8
IBU: 21.4
OG: 1.058
FG: 1.011
ABV: 6.2%
Final pH: 3.87
Brewhouse Efficiency: 73%
Boil Time: 90 min

Fermentables
-----------------
41.5% - 10 lbs Rahr 2-Row Brewer's Malt
41.5% - 10 lbs Dingemans Pilsen
8.3% - 2 lbs Thomas Fawcett Crystal Malt II
1.6% - .375 lbs Weyermann Carafa II
7.3% - 1.75 lbs Al Wadi Pomegranate Molasses

Mash
-------
Mash In - 45 min @ 152F

Hops
-------
2.00 oz Hallertauer Mittelfrueh (Pellets, 2.40% AA) @ 60 min
1.00 oz Northern Brewer (Pellets, 9.10% AA) @ 60 min

Water
-------
8 g Calcium Chloride @ Mash

Calcium
Chloride
Sulfate
Sodium
Magnesium
Carbonate
80
85
50
15
10
90

Other
-------
1 Whirlfloc Tablet @ 5 min
0.50 g Penzeys Guatemala Ground Cardamom Seeds @ 3 min

Yeast
-------
White Labs WLP530 Abbey Ale
/
Imperial Yeast B63 Monastic
The Yeast Bay House Sour

Notes
-------
Brewed 2/25 - Extended the boil as efficiency was lower than expected.

Fermenting beer temperature peaked at 74F. If I'd looked up the origin of the B63 before fermentation I would have suggested keeping it cooler despite the lab's 68-78F recommendation. Keeping it to 64-68F in this Belgian single nicely restrained the banana.

Kegged White Labs half on 3/10. Moved to kegerator to force carbonate.

Transferred the Imperial Yeast half to a plastic carboy and pitched The Yeast Bay House Sour.

I get a commission if you buy something after clicking the links to MoreBeer/Amazon/Adventures in Homebrewing/Great Fermentations!

Pom-Pom Dubbel